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Friday, August 18, 2023

Review: New Religon

A strange electronic voice. A missing girl. Chaos erupting in the streets. Metamorphosis. A man who wants to be a moth, tells you what you want to hear. Random violence spreads. After the disappearance of her daughter a grieving mother starts working at an escort agency. A girl she works with goes on a killing spree and is killed in the process. Then she gets that girl’s client, the client she was with last before she went on her rampage. He is a strange man, cancer ravaging his vocal cords so he uses an electronic voice box. He is obsessed with the metamorphoses of moths. He is a photographer of body parts. He also seems to be a harbinger of doom. Those he interacts with and studies change, becoming passively violent, like murderous somnambulists. 

New Religion, a new Japanese film directed by Keishi Kondo, is draped in the abstraction of Under the Skin and the creeping dread of Kairo. It could be a sci-fi film, or just as easily a film about a supernatural entity. New Religion follows in the arthouse/elevated new wave of horror filmmaking. Quiet, abstract, mysterious. There are no answers, and a logic crafted in nightmare. A cold unnerving electronic score compliments the cold sterile cinematography. The themes of New Religion whisper themselves, intangible and elusive. The main antagonist is an unknown, his aims secret. What dark agenda is he following? What bizarre goal is he driving towards? Dive deep into the nebulous signals and hints of New Religion, and welcome a new important voice to modern horror filmmaking.

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